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Lunch with Academic Thatcher Haters who do not understand what frigging research means

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 21 October 2012

Lunch with some nice folk but since they are academics it is simpler to declare my hand from the start and out myself as a right winger. It avoids any embarrassing moments later on. Er maybe not. The Great Margaret Thatcher comes between us.

Somehow the conversation turns to buses. One academic mutters “Maggie Thatcher” and another nods. I let it pass for a couple of minutes. What are they talking about? And so I ask. Well they cannot remember the exact quote and but it is something along the lines of “If a man travels by bus after 26 he is a failure”. This is seen by all concerned as evidence of how Evil Thatcher was. You know, like when she personally burned babies in Liverpool.

I could not argue or defend Mrs T. Instinctively I doubted she said that because it in no way chimes with the philosophy of someone (who unlike the left) admired those who sought out opportunity, however they got there. Thatch wanted to give the poor a chance. The left wants them to have to travel on a bus for life. But I did not start a debate. The quote seems damning. And being academics I am sure they have sourced and verified it.

They have not. It is a fabricated quote. But it chimes in with their view of Thatcher and so they repeat it endlessly as if it proves how wicked she is. No need to research its origin, it shows Thatcher as evil and stupid and thus it must be accurate. Frigging hell I am annoyed.

This quote was attributed to Thatcher but actually comes Loelia Ponsonby who herself admitted that she had borrowed it from Brian Howard. There is no evidence at all that Thatcher ever said this at all. And indeed there is no evidence that she shared its sentiments. None. But lefty academics will carry on using it none the less.

In researching this little number I did however come across some great Maggie quotes: Here are 4 for starters:

• The West as a whole in the early 1990s became obsessed with a ‘peace dividend’ that would be spent over and over again on any number of soft-hearted and sometimes soft-headed causes. Politicians forgot that the only real peace dividend is peace

• Imagine a Labour canvasser talking on the doorstep to those East German families when they settle in, on freedom’s side of the wall. “You want to keep more of the money you earn? I’m afraid that’s very selfish. We shall want to tax that away. You want to own shares in your firm? We can’t have that. The state has to own your firm. You want to choose where to send your children to school? That’s very divisive. You’ll send your child where we tell you

• You know, if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn’t you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing!

• And I will go on criticising Socialism, and opposing Socialism because it is bad for Britain — and Britain and Socialism are not the same thing. (…) It’s the Labour Government that have brought us record peace-time taxation. They’ve got the usual Socialist disease — they’ve run out of other people’s money.

That is just for starters. Maggie is not quite in Reagan’s league as a quote machine but she is awesome.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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